My experiences of joining ACCA SBL online course

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

ACCA Strategic Business Leader (SBL) exam is completely different from other exams in same level. I saw a lot of questions posted in different forum asking how to study it or which course provider should the students join for passing the exam.

In my another article, I advise to students who pursue ‘self-study’ should find a ‘study buddy’ before they start their studies. However, ACCA strongly recommends students joining tuition courses to prepare ACCA SBL exam.

Why does ACCA say so?

Different style of tuition

One word ‘different’ is the only reason for ACCA to recommend students joining tuition course.

I summarize four differences about SBL exam as described by ACCA –

  • Different style of exam

  • Different approach

  • Different style of study

  • Different style of tuition

You can find our guide to study ACCA SBL exam and How to study ACCA SBL exam to understand what do these differences mean. I would like to discuss about what ACCA expects in tuition course below.

“As this is a different style of exam, tuition is going to be different and more essential than ever.”

Quoted from SBL Study Support Guide published by ACCA.

ACCA suggests four key features of SBL tuition that help students to pass the exam –

  1. Classroom teaching is more about applying the syllabus, rather than learning knowledge and students are expected to learn knowledge independently;

  2. Opportunity to discuss and develop ideas with tutors or fellow students;

  3. Tutors are able to help students to develop their professional skills;

  4. One-to-one review of student’s answers with feedback.

I know many of you are looking for free of charge tuitions or courses for your SBL exam preparation. One of free resources is OpenTuition. Let’s look at what OpenTuition provides to you and how they meet ACCA expectation on tuition.

OpenTuition SBL materials

OpenTuition is one of my favourite free study materials providers for ACCA exam. It covers almost all papers including SBL. It provides study notes, lecture videos, flash cards and cash study for you to prepare SBL exam.

I read the notes and watch the videos, they are very informative and required to earn technical knowledge marks in SBL exam. In addition, the case study can be practiced as a mock exam which is very helpful in your preparation.

Last but not the least, you could post your SBL question to ask OpenTuition SBL tutor if you are struggling with some SBL concepts. I find the feedback is timely and responsive.

However, there are gaps between what ACCA expects and OpenTuition provides.

First, there is no specific section talking on professional skills. As it shares 20% of total marks, you need to find alternative resources on how to improve your professional skills in exam.

Next, I find there are not many parts in lecture video or study notes discussing on how to apply the knowledge. The flash cards are questions and answers for basic concepts but not on applying your knowledge.

One of ACCA expectations on tuition is one-to-one feedback on student’s answers.

OpenTuition provides the case study with both questions and answers, however, there is no feedback on individual work. You have to find a study buddy so that both of you can review the other’s work and learn from each other.

ACCA approved online learning partners list

Online learning is becoming more popular. As a learner, you no need to travel from your home to classroom for tuition. You just simply log on to the internet from your home, work or even a local coffee shop to attend the class.

In addition, online learning usually has a more flexible timescale. No matter your daily job is 9 to 5 or you need to work at night, you could join online tuition at your convenience, anytime, anywhere.

In ACCA website, I find a list shows different online tuition providers for SBL exam.

I am curious to know what services are these platinum or gold learning providers to students. Hence, I went into their websites and check. From the list, I found that Learnsignal offers free trial class so that I joined it to know what it provides.

Learnsignal – Approved learning partner with gold status

LearnSignal only provides online ACCA tuition on its digital platform and no face-to-face tuition. I joined the free trial or what they call Basic Plan to understand what they provide to students. However, my access is limited. If you would like to have unlimited access to SBL course, materials and 24/7 tutor support, Learnsignal offers three types of subscription plans that you can enrol, which are quarterly, monthly and yearly.

After successfully enrolling Basic plan, which is free trial in a limited time, I choose SBL under Courses category. I find there are different learning materials over there –

  • Knowledge: Videos and lecture notes

  • Practice: Tutors’ advice on questions practice

  • Exam Prep: Videos about final preparation for exam

  • Exam Bootcamp: Daily advice on which questions to practice 3 weeks before exam

  • Resources: Course resources include question & solution pack, technical articles

  • Products: Option to buy mock exam at additional cost

Strategic Business Leader (SBL) Webpage in

It is easy for me looking for lecture notes as they are just put next to video I watch. The notes are not lengthy but should be enough as they are precisely presented and to the point.

In addition to the technical knowledge required for the exam, I find Learnsignal highlights professional skills in its video in both Knowledge and Exam Prep sections. It is important as applying your technical knowledge is always crucial in passing SBL exam.

Learnsignal SBL video page

Exam Bootcamp is very helpful as a daily message covering important questions and solutions that assist student to pass exam.

Under Resources section, I find suggested study plan, technical articles, webinars, question and solution pack. As described by examiner, you need to practice more cases to develop your skills to pass SBL exam. These resources can help.

ACCA stresses an one-to-one review on answers with feedback should be done in SBL tuition. Learnsignal provides two mock exam papers with review and feedback service. But it is not included in the subscription plan and student needs to pay additional cost for this service.

Learnsignal SBL lecture note page

Affordability varies between students. If you can afford the price, it is highly recommended buying the mock exam paper with marking service so that you practice and know what you need to improve to pass the exam.

There is no student forum in Learnsignal website but you can join the student forum in its Facebook page.


Both OpenTuition and Learnsignal have their own strengths and weaknesses. OpenTuition provides free materials which is appreciated and welcome by many students. But you cannot have one-to-one feedback or specific training on professional skills.

On the other hand, you need to pay if you join monthly or quarterly plan in Learnsignal. But what you get is not only lecture videos and notes but also training on professional skills and more practices. If you can find the mock exam price, buying the mock exam with feedback so that your practice can be graded with advices.

If you are still thinking which one is more suitable to you, just click and try their online tuition (free trial available for Learnsignal).